Subscription-based digital sports media company The Athletic has unveiled a new brand identity system in partnership with global design studio Gretel. The result is fresh positioning and a new visual strategy, as well as a bold campaign that celebrates The Athletic’s commitment to smart long-form sports content. The brand highlights the value of its subscription-based model and shows off the company’s updated and elevated purpose.
“The sports reporting category often goes wide but not deep and quick recaps and highlights build consistent engagement, but lose the nuance and culture around the game which are the visceral benefits at the heart of The Athletic’s best coverage,” said Daniel Edmundson, Strategy Director at Gretel. “The Athletic’s new identity captures the brand’s sense of care, rigor and optimism as a strategic foundation, ultimately creating a powerful and distinct brand on top of an already superior product.” To arrive at the strategy, Gretel engaged The Athletic in a discovery process that saw the team working closely with co-founders Alex Mather and Adam Hansmann, as well as leadership from the company’s Marketing and Design teams.
The visual identity builds off the brand’s purpose and is designed to connect fans to the sports, teams, cities and players they love. “The Athletic publishes high-quality, in-depth writing that creates context around sports news rather than showing endless highlights, and actively engages fans on a deeper level,” said Simon Chong, Creative Director at Gretel. “We wanted that sense of elevation and intelligence to permeate the visual experience of the site just as much as it does the actual content.”
In partnership with A2 Type, Gretel created a custom inline font, based on A2’s Regular Slab and the Athletic’s logo itself, which provides the ability to brand any application, purely with type. Using The Athletic’s original inline logo as a starting point, the system now includes the inline throughout the identity, evoking a sense of continuous connection. The color palette elevates The Athletic’s previous monochromatic scheme, now consisting of neutral and nuanced warm grays. A secondary color palette is designed to complement any team color. To coincide with the unveiling of the new brand and design system, a campaign has been launched across various channels including social, print and OTT featuring key, singular moments from sports history.